Niaspan lowers cholesterol. May cause flushing and may last for a few hours. Your doctor may recommend taking aspirin before taking Niaspan. Avoid alcohol, hot beverages and spicy foods when taking it
Niaspan is a prescription medication used to lower cholesterol and fats (triglycerides) in the blood. It can also help raise the amount of HDL ("good") cholesterol in the blood. Niaspan should be used in conjuction with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet. Sometimes, Niaspan is taken with other cholesterol-lowering medications.
Niaspan is a B-complex vitamin, which may work by increasing the breakdown and removal of certain fats in the blood by increasing the activity of a certain enzyme.
Niaspan comes in an extended-release tablet and is usually taken once daily, at night, with a low-fat snack. Swallow Niaspan tablets whole.
Common side effects of Niaspan include warmth and redness of the face (flushing), itching, rash, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cough.
Niaspan may cause dizziness and blurred vision. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Niaspan affects you.
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Uses of Niaspan
Niaspan is a prescription medicine used with diet and exercise to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and fats (triglycerides) in your blood. Niaspan can be used by itself or with other cholesterol-lowering medicines. Niaspan is also used to lower the risk of heart attack in people who have had a heart attack and have high cholesterol.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Niaspan Drug Class
Niaspan is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Niaspan
Serious side effects have been reported with Niaspan. See the "Niaspan Precautions" section.
Common side effects of Niaspan include:
- increased cough
Flushing is the most common side effect of Niaspan. Flushing happens when tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin (especially on the face, neck, chest and/or back) open wider. Symptoms of flushing may include any or all of the following:
- tingling of the skin
Flushing does not always happen. If it does, it is usually within 2 to 4 hours after taking a dose of Niaspan. Flushing may last for a few hours. Flushing is more likely to happen when you first start taking Niaspan or when your dose of Niaspan is increased. Flushing may get better after several weeks.
If you wake up at night because of flushing, get up slowly, especially if you:
- feel dizzy or faint
- take blood pressure medicines
To lower your chance of flushing:
- Ask your doctor if you can take aspirin to help lower the flushing side effect from Niaspan. You can take aspirin (up to the recommended dose of 325 mg) about 30 minutes before you take Niaspan to help lower the flushing side effect.
- Do not drink hot beverages (including coffee), alcohol, or eat spicy foods around the time you take Niaspan.
- Take Niaspan with a low-fat snack to lessen upset stomach.
These are not all the possible side effects of Niaspan. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements or other nutritional supplements.
Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- supplements or medications containing niacin or nicotinamide
- other medicines to lower cholesterol or triglycerides
- insulin or medications for diabetes
- blood pressure medicines
- anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- bile acid-binding resins such as colestipol (Colestid) or cholestyramine (Questran)
- large amounts of alcohol
This is not a complete list of Niaspan drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Serious side effects have been reported with Niaspan, including:
- feeling faint
- hast heartbeat
- extreme tiredness
- dark colored urine
- light colored stools
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- flu-like symptoms
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
Niaspan can cause dizziness and blurred vision. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Niaspan affects you.
Do not take Niaspan if you:
- are allergic to Niaspan or to any of its ingredients
- have liver problems
- have a stomach ulcer
- have bleeding problems
Niaspan Food Interactions
Avoid ingestion of alcohol, hot beverages, and spicy foods around the time you take Niaspan to minimize flushing.
Before taking Niaspan, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:
- are allergic to Niaspan or to any of its ingredients.
- have diabetes. Tell your doctor if your blood sugar levels change after you take Niaspan.
- have gout
- have ulcers
- have liver disease
- have jaundice
- have kidney disease
- have heart diseases
- have gallbladder disease
- have bleeding problems
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Niaspan and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X - are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Niaspan falls into category C. No reproduction studies have been done in animals and no well-controlled studies have been done in pregnant women. Niaspan should only be given to a pregnant woman if clearly needed.
Niaspan and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Niaspan is excreted into human breast milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from this medication, a decision should be made whether to stop nursing or stop taking Niaspan, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Take Niaspan exactly as prescribed.
Niaspan comes in an extended-release tablet form and is usually taken once daily at night with a low-fat snack. Swallow Niaspan tablets whole. Do not break, crush or chew Niaspan tablets.
If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses of Niaspan at the same time.
Medicines used to lower your cholesterol called bile acid resins, such as colestipol (Colestid) and cholestyramine (Questran), should not be taken at the same time of day as Niaspan. You should take Niaspan and the bile acid resin medicine at least 4 to 6 hours apart.
Your doctor may do blood tests before you start taking Niaspan and during your treatment. You should see your doctor regularly to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to check for side effects.
Take Niaspan exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:
- the condition being treated
- other medical conditions you have
- other medications you are taking
- how you respond to this medication
The recommeded dose range of Niaspan for the treatment of high cholesterol is 500 mg to 2000 mg once daily. The maximum recommended dose of Niaspan is 2000 mg daily.
If you take too much Niaspan, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
If Niaspan is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
- Store Niaspan at room temperature (68ºF to 77ºF or 20ºC to 25ºC).
- Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.